Compersion – a buzz word within the poly community that stands out as expected of everyone to have when they get into an open relationship. This is when you’re feeling happy on behalf of someone else, and usually, in an open relationship, this is because someone else is dating another person while with you and finding themselves more satisfied.
There are times when relationships, though, come to the point where jealousy may rear its head, and this is where partners may manage things better than others. In terms of relationships between themselves and others, the two of you and others, finances, living situations, and dealing with everything that’s involved in an open relationship.
Some people might call this controlling; however, there’s always give and take in a relationship on what you want to put into it and take out of it. Some people are okay with sitting back and allowing their partner to control things while taking a back seat. Others are not and may begin to resent their partner, a situation that needs to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent feelings from becoming hurt or that resentment turns into something direr.
If your partner is managing the relationship better than you are, perhaps it’s time to sit back and think about what your role is. Are you someone that likes to control everything, and it’s grating on you that they’re better at it than you are? Are you someone that would instead take a back seat and let someone else make the decisions for you? Who do you see as the ‘boss’? Do you feel that your relationship is equal despite that partner managing things better?
Perhaps answering these questions with yourself will help you decide what to do next regarding discussing things with your partner(s) in terms that are easily understood and not emotionally charged. Using “I” statements when talking about something and not “you” statements that will come across as accusatory are always the best idea when talking about anything in a relationship that might cause some upheaval or concern.
Setting boundaries or readjusting boundaries might be something to think about when and if you start feeling as if this is happening, and you’re not happy with it. Talking with your partner on what you think is acceptable in terms of what they manage and don’t manage is something you need to think about, know what you’re comfortable handling yourself, and bring to the table as a solution and not a problem.
If your partner is resistant to giving up control or readjusting boundaries, then perhaps a more serious talk needs to be had about any control issues or combating any feelings on their part that they may feel you pointing out these things means they’re doing a lousy job at them. Ensure that you reassure them that that’s not the case (unless you think it is, and then discuss why) and that you want to make sure that you’re just as much a part of the relationship as they are.
Whether you’re one who likes to sit back and relinquish control over to someone else, one that would rather be equal in a relationship with duties or rather be in control, communication is vital. Having discussions on what needs to happen, how things happen, and when they occur are always great to have when any decisions come to bear, especially if they’re big ones that affect everyone in the relationship, not just that one person. Just remember that when you’re in an open relationship, it’s not only you that you need to be thinking of, but multiple partners as well. Communication is so crucial that stressing its importance in words alone isn’t enough to say how essential it is to a happy, healthy, and long-lived relationship(s).